Free school in Brandon placed in special measures by Ofsted

Alison Tilbrook, new headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655
Alison Tilbrook, new headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655
Have your say

A free school in Brandon has been rated ‘inadequate’ and placed in special measures by education watchdogs.

Following an inspection in January at IES Breckland, Ofsted found teaching to be ‘inadequate, does not expect enough of students and in some instances, for example in English, the standard of students’ work has declined since they started at the school’.

They also judged that:

- Too many students fail to make sufficient progress and they do not attain the standards of which they are capable.

- Too many students have experienced frequent changes of teacher. In autumn 2013, the departure of some key staff, including the principal, seriously disrupted the education provided by the school.

- The school’s own evaluation of the quality of teaching and student achievement is inaccurate. The school has not been able to improve because school leaders have not assessed the school’s performance adequately or devised strategies to improve it.

- The management of teachers’ performance is ineffective.

However, noting the school’s strengths, they found ‘standards in mathematics are generally high’ and ‘some teaching is outstanding which helps a few students to make exceptional progress’.

The school is run by private Swedish company International English Schools (IES) UK, which revealed the results of the Ofsted report before its expected official publication later this week.

In late Autumn, IES conducted its own inspection of the school, which has faced a turbulent few months following the departure of former principal Sherry Zand and six staff.

It found that IES Breckland ‘wasn’t representative of our schools or our vision of how our schools should be’.

In a statement, recently appointed principal Alison Tilbrook said: “International English Schools’ assessment in late Autumn that the school must improve meant that by the time of the Ofsted inspection, changes were being made.

“The school was recruiting staff and reviewing policies in a drive to provide quality in education.

“Ofsted’s role was to judge the school it found on the day, rather than our plans for improvement. The ongoing staff recruitment and work which had begun to transform the school were, quite rightly, not under consideration. “Likewise the fact that this short-term process will mean long-term gains could not affect the report.

“However, the changes we are now making in the school will have positive effects which will be felt by all.

“The task given to me as principal, which I have been glad to take, is to turn around the fortunes of this school, to support staff to improve, and to make beneficial recruitment decisions.

“This is a challenge for all involved, but one which we are equal to. The atmosphere in the school is fantastic and there is a real determination to succeed from staff and students. Our students are incredibly willing to learn and up to the challenge of working to achieve the best results they can.

“I would also like to thank the community for all the support they have given to me and to the school since my appointment as principal was announced.”